Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TCM Remembers 2008

Along with preparing to say hello to 2009, it's also time to pay tribute to those we lost this year. Below is a tribute assembled by TCM of film industry people who we said goodbye to in 2008. The montage is set to the tune "God Only Knows" by Joe Henry.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twilight Zone Marathon Starts On Wednesday!

Right up there with downing your beverage of choice as you watch the ball drop, the Sci-Fi Channel's annual marathon of The Twilight Zone has become one of the best ways to bring in the New Year. Starting Wednesday at 8 am EST, you can catch two days worth of episodes of Rod Serling's classic anthology series. If you aren't familiar with The Twilight Zone beyond the eerie theme music, this is an excellent way to get acquainted. Even for people like me who know the twist ending of damn near every episode, the show holds up over repeated viewings. Some of the standout episodes that will be featured in the marathon include:

"A World of His Own": Keenan Wynn as a playwright with a very unique dictaphone. This episode marks the first on-screen appearance in the series by Rod Serling.

"Hocus-Pocus and Frisby": A liar's tall tales get him into a whole mess of trouble.

"One For the Angels": A sidewalk salesman takes on death personified.

"Eye of the Beholder": A woman undergoes surgery on her face in order to look like everybody else.

"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up": A group of bus travelers find that there is an extra person when they stop at a diner.

"The Invaders": An episode containing almost no dialogue, it stars Agnes Moorehead as a woman living in isolation who is terrorized by space aliens.

"Five Characters In Search of an Exit": An Army major in dress uniform, a clown, a hobo, a ballet dancer and a bagpiper find themselves in a giant cylinder with no memory of who they are or how they got there.

"The Rip Van Winkle Caper": A gang of gold thieves use suspended animation to escape to the future.

"Mirror Image": A woman waiting in a bus station begins to see strange things.

"A Game of Pool": A pool shark (Jack Klugman) challenges a long dead pool great (Jonathan Winters) to a game of pool to find out who's the best.

"The Dummy": A ventriloquist (Cliff Robertson) is controlled by his dummy.

"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street": At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, neighbors whose contact with the outside world is mysteriously cut off begin to suspect each other of being aliens.

"The Four of Us Are Dying": A con man has the ability to change his face to make it look like anyone he chooses.

For a complete schedule of all the episodes airing during The Twilight Zone marathon, click here.

Below is a clip from the aforementioned episode, "Five Characters In Search of an Exit":

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, 1927-2008

One of the true icons of pop culture, Eartha Kitt, has died of colon cancer at the age of 81. It's ironic that Eartha passed away on Christmas Day, given that one of her most famous songs is the yuletide tune "Santa Baby".

Because she had such a long and distinguished career, Eartha is one of those performers who is closely identified with multiple roles from a variety of eras. Perhaps her most famous portrayal is that of Catwoman on the 1960s camp classic series Batman. In the 1992 romantic comedy Boomerang, Eartha was a standout in her supporting role of Lady Eloise. In 2000, she was introduced to a new generation after providing the voice of Yzma in the Disney cartoon feature The Emperor's New Groove. She reprised the characterization in the 2005 straight-to-DVD sequel Kronk's New Groove and in the Disney Channel animated series The Emperor's New School. Eartha is survived by her daughter Kitt Shapiro and two grandchildren.

Below is a 1962 clip of Eartha performing the song "I Want To Be Evil".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Final Results of the Coldplay/Joe Satriani Poll

In the most recent poll, over 2/3 of you feel that Coldplay is guilty of plagiarizing the Joe Satriani track. There were some good points brought up by many of you. The latest news I've read is that Coldplay has politely (and not surprisingly) refuted Satriani's claim, saying that the similarities are purely coincidental. One aspect that I've found rather amusing is reading what some fans have had to say about the case. If you'd like to read some of the comments on the Rolling Stone site, click here.

Here are the final poll results:

Yes: 69%

No: 30%

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mike Tyson...Is That You?!

Based on the photo above, taken during the recent sixth annual Video Game Awards in Culver City, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson isn't looking so "iron-like" these days. If he hasn't already, he looks like he is close to pushing 3 bills on the scale. Although Mike's dramatic weight gain is begging me to, I am going to take a pass on making any ear biting jokes. From the picture, it appears that Mike isn't planning on making an ill-advised return to the ring anytime soon. Then again, being out of shape didn't stop George "The Grill Man" Foreman from mounting a comeback in 1988.

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Coldplay/Joe Satriani Poll... Thank You

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

As many of you may know, the platinum-selling band Coldplay (fronted by Chris Martin, above left) were sued by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. In the lawsuit, Satriani (above right) claims the band's song Viva La Vida "copied and incorporated substantial original portions" of his 2004 guitar instrumental If I Could Fly. So that you can compare the songs before voting in the poll, the You Tube player below contains both songs.

If you would like to read more details on the story, click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #24: Some of My Favorite Christmas Songs

Thirteen of My Favorite Christmas Songs

In case you missed it last year, this week's T13 is a repeat listing some of my favorite yuletide tunes.

1. Christmas In Hollis- Run DMC: Hip-hop holiday cheer by the rap trio from Queens. This tune was orig. featured on the 1987 album "A Very Special Christmas".

2. Christmas Wrapping- The Waitresses: Recorded in 1981 by the group that also did "I Know What Boys Like" and "Square Pegs", "Christmas Wrapping" tells the story of a single woman who (because of an exhausting year) plans to sit out the normal Yuletide activities. However, fate intervenes in a positive way.

3. Dear Santa Claus- Bobby Womack: This beautiful ballad was included on Womack's 1999 Christmas album "Traditions".

4. Father Christmas- The Kinks: Recorded in 1977, this song details the misfortune of a department store Santa who gets beaten up by a gang of kids asking him for money.

5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus- John Mellencamp: This rocking version of the classic was also part of the 1987 compilation "A Very Special Christmas".

6. Jingle Bell Rock- Hall & Oates: Recorded circa 1985, I remember that this song was accompanied by a "so bad it's good" music video. Click here to watch it.

7. Merry Christmas Baby- Otis Redding: Released posthumously in 1968, this song was the flip side to Otis' version of "White Christmas". I love when Otis sings the line, " Santa came down the chimney. Half past three, y'all."

8. Peace On Earth/The Little Drummer Boy- David Bowie & Bing Crosby: Definitely one of the oddest music pairings, but it works! This medley was recorded in 1977 for Bing's Christmas special.

9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer- The Temptations: Motown magic from the Emperors of Soul. This song was orig. included on the 1970 album "The Temptations Christmas Card".

10. Run Rudolph Run- Chuck Berry: Although it's been recorded by several artists (Bryan Adams, The Grateful Dead, and Sheryl Crow to name a few), this 1958 version is my favorite.

11. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town- The Jackson Five: The brothers from Gary, IN recorded this for their 1970 release "Christmas Album".

12. This Christmas- Donny Hathaway: This 1970 classic has been remade by a wide range of artists, including: Usher, Gloria Estefan, Harry Connick Jr, Boyz II Men, and the Cheetah Girls. It also inspired the 2007 film starring Regina King, Loretta Devine, and Chris Brown.

13. You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch- Thurl Ravenscroft: For the longest time, I thought the vocalist for this song was Geoffrey Holder (you may remember him from the 7-Up "Uncola" commercials from the 1970s). However, the man giving the verbal thrashing to the creature with a heart "two sizes too small" is Thurl Ravenscroft. He is best known as the voice of Tony the Tiger in over 500 commercials for Kelloggs' Frosted Flakes.*

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Monday, December 15, 2008

There's Nothing Lame About His Ducking Skills

Displaying reflexes that could earn him an honorary membership in the TMNT should he choose to take that path after his term ends, President George W. Bush narrowly missed tasting some shoe leather as an Iraqi TV reporter hurled his kicks at him during a news conference on Sunday. I wonder if President Bush is asking himself why can't he be more like Tom Jones. Whereas the "What's New Pussycat" singer gets panties tossed at him, the Prez has to worry about avoiding Florsheims upside the head. I know some of you may be saying that those panties belong to women with AARP cards. But hey... they're still panties!

Below you can watch the shoe throwing incident in real time and in slo-mo. This is one of those clips that will never get old to me. It ranks right up there with former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora's "playoffs" rant back in 2001 as one that will make me laugh every time I see it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 12/12/08

12 midnight hour

Back In Black- AC/DC
Love Train- The Supremes
Love Will Find A Way- Pablo Cruise
Turn This Mutha Out- M.C. Hammer
Come Out and Play- The Offspring
Mandinka- Sinead O'Connor
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)- Jay-Z

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Sad Eyes- Robert John

Under Attack- ABBA
7- Prince
Fly Like An Eagle- Seal
Come and Get Your Love- Redbone

1 am hour

Wild Wild West- The Escape Club
Is That Love?- Squeeze
Go Ahead With All That- Chanté Moore
Every Little Step- Bobby Brown
Crippled Inside- John Lennon
Stumbling In- Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman
Party Train- The Gap Band
Name- The Goo Goo Dolls
This Is the Sound- The Juliana Hatfield Three
Wild Thing- Tone Loc
Thank God It's Friday- Love & Kisses
Evil Woman- Electric Light Orchestra
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite- R.E.M.
Another One Bites the Dust- Queen

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Under Attack by ABBA

Friday, December 12, 2008

Special Time For The Retro Mix

Instead of it's regularly scheduled time of 7 pm EST, my show (The Retro Mix) will air tonight from midnight to 2 am. For information about The Retro Mix and how you can listen online, click here. I hope you can join me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Malcolm and Pancakes: A Love Story

As I mentioned in one of my recent DWTS posts, I missed Lance Bass' fall during his dance routine because I was preoccupied with my preparation of some pancakes. Ever since my mother used to make them for us as a kid, I've had a love affair with flapjacks that continued into adulthood. A few years, I had an amicable parting of the ways with pancakes. During that time, there were a couple of quickies if I happened to be ordering breakfast at a restaurant. However, these brief encounters were the extent of our "relationship".

Earlier this fall I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Thoughtful Reflections (written by Jessica). In one of her posts, she linked to a previous one she had written about flapjacks. That was all it took for me to fully embrace my fixation once again. When I went grocery shopping shortly thereafter, I made sure I bought a box of pancake mix and a bottle of syrup. Once I got back to my apartment, I couldn't wait to fire up that skillet! When it comes to pancakes, I am a fairly basic guy. I don't need strawberries or whipped cream (however, those two items have me thinking about something else entirely). Anyway, back to the pancakes... as long as they are oozing with butter and syrup, I'm fine. Because I don't allow the time of day to dictate what I eat, I was having pancakes for dinner on some nights. It was getting to the point where I strongly considered hanging an IHOP sign above the entrance to my apartment.

As a kid, the only syrup I remember my mother buying was Alaga (the name is a combination of Alabama and Georgia, the home states of the company founder and his wife). Unfortunately, the grocery store in my area doesn't carry it. In early November, after doing my radio show one Friday night, I stopped by one of the Kroger locations in Flint hoping that they carried Alaga syrup. Kroger management didn't let me down. The original sugar cane flavor of Alaga is just the way I remembered it: sweet and so thick that when it dries around the mouth of the bottle, you can get a decent workout trying to unscrew the top.

I took me awhile, but I realized that I had to abandon my love once again. At the rate I was going, it wouldn't have been long before I'd be saying, "Hey, hey, hey" as I headed to the local junkyard to join my band and play bubblegum soul songs with a message. Even though I've bid farewell to flapjacks for now, I know that we will hook up again at some point in time. What's cool about our relationship is that there are no hard feelings. When I was in the pantry of my kitchen tonight, the bottle of Alaga temporarily morphed into Mrs. Butterworth and said to me, "It's OK Malcolm, I understand. You have to do what's best for you right now. Just know that whenever you want me, I'll be right down here waiting."

Are you a pancake lover? If so, what are your favorite toppings? To help put you in that pancake state of mind, check out a clip from the 1965 Chilly Willy cartoon titled Half-Baked Alaska. This scene features Chilly at a diner getting set to eat a stack of flapjacks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Final Results of the Fast Food Commercial Poll

By an overwhelming margin, most people felt that fast food commercials should not be banned from TV. As I mentioned in the post inviting readers to participate in the poll, a new study shows that a ban on fast food TV commercials could reduce childhood obesity by 18%. However, I am wary of studies such as this because I feel that they often can be slanted. I still feel that getting kids involved in physical activities and parents taking more responsibility in their children's meal choices will have a greater effect on reducing childhood obesity.

I am surprised that more people didn't feel that banning fast food commercials was a bad idea. There were actually 11 people who voted "Yes" in the poll. Unfortunately, they didn't leave any comments in the post as to why they feel this way. If any of you who voted "yes" are reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Here are the final results:

Yes: 26%

No: 73%

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 12/5/08

7 pm hour

Girls Just Want To Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
Right On- The Rascals
Old Fashioned Love- The Commodores
The Humpty Dance- Digital Underground
Thank You- Dido
Pop Goes the World- Men Without Hats
Hot Line- The Sylvers

With or Without You segment's feat. artist: Gerry Rafferty
Stuck In the Middle With You- Stealer's Wheel
Right Down the Line (solo)

Encore- Cheryl Lynn
Everything About You- Ugly Kid Joe
When It Began- The Replacements
Raise the Roof- Public Enemy

8 pm hour

Hungry Heart- Bruce Springsteen
It's No Crime- Babyface
Medley- Stars On 45
Monkey Wrench- The Foo Fighters
Divine Hammer- The Breeders
Stomp!- The Brothers Johnson

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Rick Springfield
What's Victoria's Secret? (from his 2008 CD Venus In Overdrive)
I've Done Everything For You (released in 1981)

It Must Be Love- Alton McClain & Destiny
Flashlight- Parliament
Lover Come Back- Dead or Alive
Jeremy- Pearl Jam

Note: On Friday December 12th, The Retro Mix will not air at its regularly scheduled time. It will air 5 hours later from midnight until 2 am.

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: What's Victoria's Secret? by Rick Springfield

Friday, December 5, 2008

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Fast Food TV Ad Poll... Thank You

According to a new study, a ban on fast food TV commercials could reduce childhood obesity by 18%. If you'd like to read the story on the study, click here. Although most of us will agree that childhood obesity is a problem, I don't feel that banning fast food ads is the solution. These days, it's too easy for kids to lead a sedentary lifestyle. If we can get kids to put down the remote control/video game control pads and get them involved in physical activity, that would be a step in the right direction.

As always, feel free to provide feedback in the comments section after voting.

Old School Friday: Actors/Actresses Who Can Sing and Vice Versa

For this week's OSF, I chose a single by Ralph Carter (best known for portraying Michael Evans on the 1974-1979 sitcom Good Times). Titled When You're Young and In Love (a song that was a hit in 1967 for the Marvelettes), Ralph's version hit the pop/R&B charts (#37 and #95, respectively) in 1975. For his performance of the song on Soul Train (which you can watch below), Ralph demonstrated that he was more than just a "militant midget".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #65: Richard Pryor Quotes

Thirteen Quotes by Richard Pryor

December 1st marked what would have been Richard Pryor's 68th birthday. As a belated commemoration, I've listed 13 quotes by the man that many (including me) call the greatest stand-up comedian of all-time.

1. Upon traveling to Zimbabwe: I know how white people feel in America now, relaxed. Because when I hear the police siren, I knew they wasn't comin' after me.

2. I had to stop drinkin', cuz I got tired of waking in my car driving ninety.

3. I'd like to die like my father died... My father died fucking. My father was 57 when he died. The woman was 18. My father came and went at the same time.

4. I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying 'til I get it right.

5. On race relations: I don't understand what goes on some times, right, cuz here we are in this theater, we gettin' along just fine. We go outside and the shit change.

6. The way I see it, the earth is going to be here after we're dead and gone. Even if it's a polluted planet, and they messed it up. Where do they go from here - to another planet so they can mess that up too?

7. I'm not addicted to coke, i just love the way it smells

8. On trying to find his roots: I went through every phone book in Africa, and I didn't find one god damned Pryor!

9. I'm for human lib, the liberation of all people, not just black people or female people or gay people.

10. It's so much easier for me to talk about my life in front of two thousand people than it is one-to-one. I'm a real defensive person, because if you were sensitive in my neighborhood you were something to eat.

11. I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, I wanna grow up and be a critic.

12. Rosa Parks showed us all that one little person can make a whole bunch of noise without so much as a whisper. She showed the world that the color of your skin shouldn't determine what part of the bus you sit in... as you ride through life.

13. On meeting Ronald Reagan at The White House: Muthafucka looked at me like I owed him money.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tina Fey: The Story Behind the Scar Revealed

For some time now, there has been a fascination with Tina Fey's scar on the left side of her chin and cheek. There is even a blog devoted to the subject. When I first noticed Tina's scar, I was intrigued. I became even more so after reading an interview that Tina did with Entertainment Weekly in 2003 (the author of the article wrote that Tina's facial scar was from a childhood injury she preferred not to discuss). Although I was curious to hear the story behind the scar, I was also cool never learning what happened.

But now, after all these years, the biggest mystery since "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" has finally been answered. In an interview that Tina and her husband Jeff Richmond gave for the January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, Richmond says a stranger slashed Fey's face when she was 5 years old. He goes on to say that the incident occurred in the front yard of her house. To read the complete Vanity Fair interview, click here.

Oh well, now that we know the story behind Tina Fey's scar, it's on to the next mystery. Speaking of scars, I'm dying to know what's in Al Capone's vault. I think a certain mustachioed Fox News Channel personality is just the person who can get to the bottom of this.

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